Shafik has joined the campaign against a winner-takes-all business culture that offers the spoils of capitalism only to those that rise to the top, putting her in the company of some of the world’s most prominent political thinkers.
While she has come a long way from her Egyptian birthplace, her questioning of privilege has remained consistent. “The idea that you are successful because you are smart and hardworking is pernicious and wrong, because it means everyone who is unsuccessful is stupid and lazy,” she says. Referring to her friend Michael Sandel, the Harvard philosopher, she says the next phase of history should be characterised by a shared endeavour, ending the extreme individualism of the last 40 years.
“The discussion we need to be having asks: what do we owe each other and what are our expectations of each other?” she says. People who think they have climbed the greasy pole on their own misunderstand how much luck had a part to play and how society, directly or indirectly, also helped them rise.”
March 15 is Equal Pay Day in the USA. The date is chosen to show how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Results from a survey of 3,600 U.S. workers conducted by MIT professor Paul Osterman in early 2020:
- White workers, college-educated workers, and standard workers received more formal and informal training than non-white workers, less educated workers, and those employed on a contract or freelance basis;
- Less than half of all surveyed Hispanic workers received informal training, for example, and just 32% of high school educated workers received informal training;
- A majority of workers do receive workforce behavior training, orientation training, and safety training. What’s missing is skills training: learning how to do your job, and the one above it on the career ladder.
h/t Thinking Forward
We are a few days into the invasion of a sovereign country by another sovereign country… and the senseless deaths that ensue. I’m not one for pronouncements but if we can learn anything from history it is this: if we don’t discuss our differences, if we don’t talk, then the only alternative is violence. This is as true internationally as it is domestically. Technology has only exacerbated this fundamental human tendency. The only way to prevent violence is to learn to express one’s differences and learn to hear and understand the differences of others.
“Communication” is not about how eloquent or smart or well-spoken one is. It’s not about the clever tricks of rhetoric or the slick slide deck. My work as a consultant and a coach is to invite people (I work mostly with managers) to approach communication as
a process by which all parties make themselves co-responsible for the creation of a shared understanding.
I am responsible not only to express my ideas clearly (which requires that they be clear ideas to start with). I am also responsible to ensure that the other party has understood what I was trying to say. Conversely, it is also my responsibility to ensure that I have understood what the other party is trying to say.
This is impossible without dialogue: not only my telling you something and you telling me something, but also my asking you if I got you right and your asking me if you got me right… with the purpose of creating a shared understanding. The outcome is that we have both understood the meaning that each other is trying to convey.
People or parties talking without the express work of creating a shared understanding are at best engaging in turn-taking monologues. They are talking at each other. They are not necessarily talking to each other. There is no dialogue.
And while listening is important and one can learn to do that better, nothing replaces the premise of effective listening: a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.
If you know it all, if you’re the most experienced person in the room, if you’re the most senior person in the room, the smartest person in the room, if you think you have forgotten more about this topic than the other person will ever know then you might be far removed from having a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.
In an exquisite case of synchrony, I happened to read this right after Vonnegut’s letter:
I have always believed, always, even when I was a precocious little girl crying alone in my bed, that our purpose in this life is to experience everything we possibly can, to understand as much of the human condition as we can squeeze into one lifetime, however long or short that may be. We are here to feel the complex range of emotions that come with being human. And from those experiences, our souls expand and grow and learn and change, and we understand a little more about what it really means to be human. I call it the evolution of the soul.
It is from a letter Julie Yip-Williams wrote to her daughters before colon cancer took her life.
I love how reading sometimes echo each other.
source: https://lettersofnote.com/2021/03/01/live-a-life-worth-living/, accessed 220104
In 2006, a high school English teacher asked students to write to a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond. And his response is magnificent:
Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:
I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.
What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.
Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.
God bless you all!
source: https://www.timelesstimely.com/p/ars-gratia-artis, accessed 220104
Take wrong turns.
Talk to strangers.
Open unmarked doors.
And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing.
Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out.
You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off.
There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan.
To find them, look for tiny interesting choices.
And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.
John Naughton is surprised at journalists and commentators being horrified at corporations doing despicable things.
Don’t they understand that a corporations is essentially a superintelligent AI which is entirely focussed on achieving its purpose — which in the case of corporations these days is to maximise shareholder value? That’s why Facebook could be entirely run by clones of Mahatma Gandhi and St Francis of Assisi and would still be a toxic company.
I have been taking an unscientific survey among friends, acquaintances, and clients about the type of manager they have had throughout their careers. No list of types or categories. I just ask. Bob Sutton would not be surprised to learn that most of the answers can be clustered around the concept of asshole.
But Naughton’s idea here is different. He is talking about the corporation as a whole. He calls on John Steinbeck to illustrate his pont:
a passage from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrathin which tenant farmers are objecting to foreclosure:
“Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land… We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours…. That’s what makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.”
“We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.”
“Yes, but the bank is only made of men.”
“No, you’re wrong there — quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
The corporation is something more than the human persons in it. It’s a monster. They made it but they can’t control it.
Again this month it’s a combination of research and practical insights, some timely and some timeless:
– A Microsoft study on the impact of remote work on collaboration among its information workers,
– The best worker not always being the best candidate for manager,
– The real challenge about organizing data,
– Yo should up your hiring game,
– The weakest link in the collective intelligence of a team,
– The full dimension of a meeting’s “check-in”,
– It’s time to re-onboard everyone,
… and more!
Happy reading and feel free to share these management and leadership insights with your friends and colleagues.
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Study: participants had to learn to identify the letters of a language they did not know. The learning was prompted in one of three ways: writing by hand, typing, or watching videos.
“At the end, after as many as six sessions, everyone could recognize the letters and made few mistakes when tested. But the writing group reached this level of proficiency faster than the other groups—a few of them in just two sessions.”
Researchers also wanted to know if and when the three groups could generalize this new knowledge: spell like a pro, write words, spell new words, etc.
“The writing group was better—decisively—in all of those things.
“The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there.”